Obama Admin Cuts Oil Shale Development

Obama Admin Cuts Oil Shale Development

FOX NEWS: Controversy is heating up over an administration plan to drastically reduce the amount of federal lands available for oil shale development in the American West.The Bush administration had set aside 1.3 million acres for oil shale and tar sands development in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The new Bureau of Land Management plan cuts that amount by two-thirds, down to 700,000 acres, a decision that has prompted industry outrage.Oil shale is very different from the oil reserves driving the current energy boom in places like the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota or the Niobrara in Colorado. In those areas hydraulic fracking is being used to break through layers of shale rock to reach huge pockets of oil trapped between and pump it out.Oil shale refers to shale rock itself, which contains mineralized hydrocarbons. When subject to intense pressure and extremely high temperatures, oil develops. This can be done by mining the rock first or by leaving it in place and doing the pressurized heating process deep underground.In a statement to Fox News, the BLM says it is not against oil shale and tar sands deveopment, but will restrict the amount of public lands available for leasing until the processes are proven, and proven safe. If shown to be viable in coming years, the agency says more federal lands may be opened up to oil shale and tar sands development.Kish said the decision will effectively put an end to the development in America of a resource with massive potential because the energy industry will simply go elsewhere.

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